I often wonder. I’m me of course. Except when I’m the person whose first name isn’t Joan but which people who don’t know me use. Or when I use my maiden name. And then there are the aliases.
Inventing an on-line alias would be a great way to stay anonymous. To write a blog without having to answer to anyone. To become a member of this or that site without clenching my teeth and grrring when people nag me to reply, or follow, or like, or connect. To say what I think without people assuming I meant them specifically and having to grovel and explain myself. To express some of those opinions that are blurted on an impulse but, with hindsight, reflect badly on me. To wander around those sites that won’t let you past the first page without signing in, and then having to endure a stream of urgent emails trying to sell me stuff.
I became Topsy once so I could play a little. She was useful for one of those excessively pushy genealogy sites briefly, but she had to extricate herself before the site constructed any more of her entirely fictitious family tree and threw hints and suggestions at her ad nauseum. She was very hard to kill off but I was more persistent than they were, which is saying something. Then Flopsy was created to join another site where I had once been a member and had left in a huff. Flopsy was put there to keep an eye on things but she felt really guilty about it and quietly resigned. Spying was clearly not her style. As for Mopsy, I can’t find her any more, she came and went rather quickly and didn’t leave a trace. She couldn’t remember her password and the messages telling her that she had tried too many times to sign in became sinister, so she quit.
My confusions with the aliases arose from the fact that I started with Hotmail, which unknown to me morphed into Outlook and changed its look and layout. When I tried to gather all the “people” into one basket I got in a terrific muddle and deleted everyone I could actually find and catch. Now only Flopsy still works, although for a while there she looked very like me and I realised that people would find her out if they wanted to. Now Flopsy has an anonymous black‘n’white pic.
I suspect the way to go would be to tell no one – no one – because the temptation to smirk or look alarmed or spill coffee when the blog (or whatever) is mentioned or criticised would be one’s undoing. And one can’t be undone, can one – what would the neighbours think?